ThinkFast: April 5, 2007

In an editorial entitled “Cheney’s Chance,” the New York Sun encourages Vice President Cheney to run for president. The Sun claims that, were he in the race, “it’s hard to imagine that the president’s approval ratings would not be five or 10 points higher” because the administration would have “a defender on the campaign trail.” Note: Cheney’s approval is even lower than Bush’s.

The White House has unveiled a public Internet database that lists “all the pet spending projects lawmakers tucked in the federal budget for the 2004–05 fiscal year,” but does “not include the earmarks the president and his administration requested.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said this week of purged U.S. attorney Carol Lam, “She’s a former law professor; no prosecutorial experience; and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton.” In fact, Lam served as a prosecutor for 15 years, and according to Lam, was neither a law professor nor a Clinton campaign worker.

The Justice Department’s White House liaison Monica Goodling yesterday “refused a request from the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions in a private interview.” Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Linda S¡nchez (D-CA) earlier indicated that if Goodling refused to grant the private interview, she may be required to attend a public hearing and invoke the Fifth on a “question-by-question basis.”


A new Amnesty International report states that conditions at Guantanamo Bay prison have worsened. “Most detainees have suffered harsh treatment throughout their detention,” the report says, and a new facility opened in December “has created even harsher and apparently more permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.” 10,328: The number of housing complaints received in 2006 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Fair Housing Assistance Program agencies, “up 65% from the 6,270 complaints received in 1996.” Last year’s number was a record, “with disability and race as the leading reasons for filing a complaint.”

President Bush yesterday recess-appointed Andrew Biggs, a supporter of Social Security privatization, to the No. 2 spot at the Social Security Administration. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said the move “could derail any chance of a Social Security overhaul.”

“A newly formed consulting firm hired to account for more than $7.3 billion in Iraqi reconstruction money did not deliver a database that could help investigators track waste and fraud. … The result: Two years after uncovering one major fraud case, auditors still haven’t determined whether there was more graft in the spending of Iraqi oil proceeds.”

And finally: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) has been greeted at events recently by someone dressed up as a dolphin, dubbing himself Flip, who is highlighting Romney’s “flip-flops” on various issues. Earlier this week, Flip tried to enter a campaign event “but was caught in a net of young Romney staffers. ‘You need to leave the building,’ bellowed one, as he porpoisely pushed out the heckler.” The dolphin “would only admit to being a student from Davenport, Iowa. Asked what he school he went to, Flip offered: ‘The University of the Pacific Ocean.’”